Lawmaker Plans Separate-Gender Beach Days for Religious

NEW YORK (AP/Hamodia ) -

A Brooklyn councilman is sponsoring gender-segregated beach days to allow Jews and Muslims to also enjoy the sand and the sea this summer.

Councilman Chaim Deutsch announced the first-ever “Southern Brooklyn Beach Day,” hosting separate dates for men and women, in an advertisement in Wednesday’s Hamodia.

“I have a lot of Orthodox Jewish and Muslim constituents in my district who have never been able to go to the beach before,” the Democrat said. “They’ve never been able to smell the beach, to walk in the sand. Everyone should be able to enjoy the beach.”

Deutsch said he is raising private funds to cover the cost of taking over the beach for two days at Kingsborough Community College, which sits next to popular Manhattan Beach.

The beach would normally be closed on both Fridays since the college doesn’t have summer classes that day. Under his plan, June 29 would be set aside for men from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and July 27 would be reserved for women and girls during those hours.

The New York Civil Liberties Union called the move a “chutzpah.”

“People don’t have the right to impose gender discrimination on a city beach simply because it’s mandated by their religion,” said the union’s executive director Donna Lieberman.

Deutsch said men and women of all faiths would be welcome. He is raising private funds to cover $400 per day in costs for lifeguards and other staff.

“We want to be neighborly,” said college spokesman Anthony Andrews, adding that the councilman has “been very supportive to us.”